How would the Battle of Moscow turn out if it actually happened?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Somewhereovertherainbow, Apr 20, 2017 at 1:52 PM.

  1. Gudestein Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    That was the OP
     
  2. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Location:
    In the Kremlin, Activating Perimetr
    No, this is the OP:

    No where in there is the assertion that the Germans take Moscow. At most there is an unspoken question of whether the Germans could take Moscow if they had to engage in a urban street to street fight (answer: probably no).
     
  3. G.Washington_Fuckyeah Progressive Bonapartist

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2014
    Location:
    Préfecture du département de la Lippe
    You seem to know him very well to make such assumptions.
     
  4. Gannt the chartist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    Quite.

    If you want to go around saying they are wrong please provide some form of evidence to support that not just one liners.
     
  5. per70 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    In Barabrossa Derailed vol II, Glantz discuss the what-if scenario of dropping the southward strike and going directly for Moscow by among others stating:

    "In short, if the German Army proved unable to protect its fronts and flanks in early December 1941 against a Red Army force of roughly 4.1 million soldiers, would it have done much better defending a significantly longer front in November against a Red Army force in excess of 6 million soldiers?"

    Obviously, this is a severely flawed statement. If this is representative of Glantz's what-if-capabilities, he probably made the right decision in focusing on writing on other aspects of the conflict.
     
    wiking likes this.
  6. Somewhereovertherainbow Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    But what would happen late in the war in the East? I know that even if the Germans take Moscow sometime during October (since someone on this thread said that was the best month they could do it) the war isn't automatically over and just "poofs" away. What would happen to Leningrad and Stalingrad, plus Zhukov? I thought I heard in the past he was de facto in charge of Moscow after Stalin had his massive panic attack after the German invasion started earlier in the summer
     
  7. per70 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    I have a hard time visualizing how this egregiously exposed southern flank of AGC would look like. If its not too much to ask, would you care to illustrate with a map?

    I seem to recall reading about a discussion in AGS in late August/early September about attacking out of the Kremenchug brigdehead and linking up with the Dnepropetrovsk bridgehead further east.
    As it were, the breakout from the Kremenchug brigdehead went northwards, linking up with 2nd PzGr instead.
    If they opt for merging the brigdeheads instead, the end result would look very threatening for the Southwestern Front (which wasn't all that strong in this area to begin with).
     
  8. Somewhereovertherainbow Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    I do not know much about Moscows layout though, but would German artillery, tanks, or tank destroyers be useful in the battle?
     
  9. Gannt the chartist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    If you are going to go around sayng they ae wrong please provide some evidence to suport not one liners.

    'Obviously this is wrong' is an assertion of your point of view not evidence.
     
  10. wiking The One and Only

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    This was front Stolfi:
    CCF21042017.jpg
     
  11. wiking The One and Only

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    If Southwest front falls back to the Psel rive they are totally disconnecting from AG-Center's flank, while AG-South flows into to fill the vacuum from the Dniepr to the Psel, covering AG-Center's flank and freeing 2nd army to move further northeast to the Bryank-Orel area.

    [​IMG]


    How far Guderian advanced South is how far logistically he could have advanced East, as the territory in Ukraine was not supplied via AG-South, rather via AG-Center's supply lines during the same rains and mud that happened in September that you mentioned previously.

    That makes no sense given that the 'lateral territory' was still Soviet hands, had different gauged rail to be converted too, in the case of the Leningrad front was mostly swamp and was worse terrain and logistics than in the area east toward Moscow while the roads south toward Kiev were worse than the highways toward Moscow, and the same distance needed to be traveled. There was no short cuts for supplies headed to Smolensk then south to Kiev or north to Velyiki Luki. Only one Panzer Corps from 3rd Panzer Army was sent to AG-North during August-September that drew from it's supply lines, the rest that were aiding AG-North by attacking in the Toropets area to secure their flank along with Manstein's corps during and after the Soviet Staraya Russa offensive were drawing supply from AG-Center's supply lines.
    http://www.allworldwars.com/Comments-on-Russian-Roads-and-Higways-by-Max-Bork.html
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And the situation of AG-Center on the 24th of August:
    August 24th.jpeg

    Not really, given that Guderian's supplies came via the Smolensk rail line IOTL, while other than one Panzer Corps from 3rd Panzer Army was sent to the Luga, 3rd Panzer Army spent August-September fighting within the supply area of AG-Center. 4th Panzer Group did fight within AG-North's supply area, but so to would start doing so in August 1941 in a Moscow scenario anyway, as they'd need to deal with the Soviet Staraya Russa offensive as per OTL, plus 22nd army around Velyiki Luki via the Dno area; that does nothing to AG-Center's supply lines, as that is from the AG-North area, while 18th army is operating in the Baltic/along the Luga, while 16th army is entirely along the Luga and in the Staraya Russa area, mostly sitting still and defending the flank of the operations. Their supply lines as you can see can above actually somewhat overlap with AG-Center, so if they are drawing less supply come September, as 18th army and 16th army would pretty much just be sitting still on the defensive holding the Luga/Staraya Russa flank, that means a significant part of their rail lines can instead host AG-Center trains headed via the Baltic lines south from Dvinsk-Veliyki Luki-Rzhev or Riga/Dvinsk-Vitebsk-Smolensk rather than the Orsha-Smolensk line. It actually heavily increases the amounts of supply that could be pushed into Smolensk from two converging rail lines. Beyond that without the push to Leningrad from the Luga in August-September AG-North rail conversion specialists can instead focus efforts on converting/repairing rail lines from the Baltic area to AG-Center's backyard, which improves their supply abilities compared to OTL.

    Looking at the rail construction schedule map for AG-North below, we can see that from August on once the Luga line is reached by rail conversion assets, instead of focusing on further extending rail lines to Leningrad, AG-North rail conversion could shift East and Southeast to improve rail lines headed to Smolensk and Veliyiki Luki from the Baltic states and since 4th Panzer Army will be diverted in August to help AG-Center, then their historical AG-North supplies can shift along AG-North rail lines and roads to supply them heading East toward to area between Staraya Russa and Veliyki Luki, first to crush the Soviet Staraya Russa offensive in August, then to push south from positions gained around the Valdai hills to envelope Soviet positions around Rzhev.
    http://www.allworldwars.com/Comments-on-Russian-Roads-and-Higways-by-Max-Bork.html
    [​IMG]

    OTL August 1941 for AG-North. Have 4th Panzer Group push East instead of North and it only draws on AG-North's supply lines while effectively destroys the Soviet 34th, 11th, and 27th army, while 3rd Panzer Group, not pictured here, to the south of this map attacking the Soviet 22nd army would also have 39th Panzer Corps (pictured above pushing on Leningrad, which was diverted from 3rd Panzer Group) to complete the operation and rip into the Soviet 29th and 30th armies thereafter. It adds no extra significant burden on AG-Center's supply lines, while 4th Panzer Group in August 1941 ITTL would still be entirely on AG-North's supply lines, pushing east out of Staraya Russa/Kholm.
    [​IMG]

    Both Stahel and Glantz said the core of the Soviet 5th Army that defended the Smolensk-Moscow Highway was the pre-war 32nd Rifles division:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/32nd_Rifle_Division_(Soviet_Union)
    The myth was that Siberian divisions counterattacked the Germans in December and drove them back, NOT that pre-war divisions were a core element of the defenses in October, which they were. 8 full strength, fully trained, fully equipped Soviet pre-war divisions had a huge outsized role given the weakness of the remaining Soviet formations post-Vyazma/Bryansk.


    So you acknowledge that Guderian was supplied via Smolensk for the entire operation? So as you yourself then acknowledge the supplies coming in to AG-Center were strong enough for Guderian to attack with 2nd army and 2nd Panzer Group on Kiev well over 100 miles south into enemy territory against multiple Soviet armies, while still holding Yelnya into September. At the same time 3rd Panzer Group was attacking 22nd Army at Velyiki Luki and broadly the infantry armies of AG-Center were defending against multiple Soviet offensives against Smolensk from July-September, quite successfully too. There was clearly plenty of supplies coming in for all of those operations, all that is being suggested is that those supplies are instead used to advance East instead of the historical fighting along the Smolensk-Moscow axis. Plus in August-September 4th Panzer Group would have to fight along the Dno-Staraya Russa axis on AG-North's supply lines to defeat the Soviet offensive there, before turning south from the Valdai hills area to push on Rzhev, while 3rd Panzer Group stays intact in August and with VIII air corps' support pushes against the Soviet 22nd and 29th armies at the same time 4th Panzer Group is pushing around Staraya Russa and Kholm against the Northwest Front. By September, then have secured the army group flanks, 4th Panzer Group could turn on Rzhev from their northern position, while 3rd Panzer Group, having destroyed 22nd and 29th armies in August and in September use their positions to flank attack the Soviet 30th army from their positions in conjunction with 9th army, while Guderian can attack with his 2nd Panzer army and 4th army from the Yelnya area against the 24th, 19th, and any sundry Soviet armies in that area to rip open the front and start the push on Moscow.


    They are great at collating data, not terribly great at what ifs given the depth I've seen them putting into such forays that they'd made, like the one liner Per70 mentioned. Beyond that Glantz doesn't even deal with the political, economic, psychological implications that come from Moscow being reached in either August/September or October and what it's fall would mean. There is a ton of disruptions just in communication from the city becoming either a battleground or falling that neither address, but as it is neither author really does much beyond describing what happened IOTL, not what could have happened with different choices.



    If we limit the discussion to just OTL Typhoon, then if the Germans can reach the city in October, there isn't anything left in the city to really engage in a massive street fight. Now in November that's a different story, but I don't see how it is remotely possible for the Germans to reach the city by then due to the pause in operations and arrival of so many Soviet reserves. At that point it's too late unless there was an earlier POD that prevents Soviet reserves from arriving and manning the front in front of Moscow....but then that gets us back to the fact that if there wasn't enough manpower to stop the Germans short of Moscow, what reserves exist within the city that were held back to fight them in it?

    As to the August-September attack on Moscow, no need to really start a new thread, it still fits within the OP's question, it's just a different route to get there, probably one more possible than the Germans actually being able to reach Moscow in October 1941 given the weather situation and time when the offensive began.

    One potential option, that Glantz actually mentions in his Barbarossa book, is the Germans not diverting 3rd Panzer Army to Kalinin in October, instead pushing East from Rzhev north of the Moscow river and 4th Panzer Army's push south of it, which would effectively 'double fist' the push along two parallel highways and overload Soviet defenses. In that case the Soviets have the severe problem of their front collapsing in either one, the other, or both at the same time due to trying to defend too much, which then results in the Germans arriving in Moscow right around the time of the Moscow Panic. There is no street fighting then, Soviet reserves are gone, what they had was at the front, and the public is panicking and NKVD doesn't have a chance to restore order.

    There was an ongoing purge at the time that was slowing down over the course of 1941:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purge_of_the_Red_Army_in_1941#In_wartime
    If Moscow fell it is pretty much game over for the USSR and yes Stalin would have few to blame but himself, so any further mass purges are effectively pointless and Stalin would probably end up toppled shortly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 11:25 AM
  12. per70 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    I thought the problems with the statement were fairly self-evident, but I'll add some details.

    The minor problem with the statement is that the frontline would be significantly longer. For AGC, that would certainly be the case, but it gets a bit more muddled once you include ACN and AGS.

    The major problem is that Glantz is implying that in this ATL, Red Army forces would be roughly 2 million men stronger than in OTL. But how does he arrive at that figure?

    The Germans claimed about 400k POW in the Kiev pocket itself, and another 175k POW in the Chernigov-Romny operation.
    It's probably fair to say that the number of Soviet casualties in these regions would be lower in the ATL.

    But this still leaves us well shy of the 2 million figure proposed by Glantz.

    In fact, if we were to estimate the total number of Soviet casualties between 1/9-41 and mid-November (when Glantz seems to imply this ATL offensive would start), we would probably come pretty close to 2 million total casualties.
    Meaning, in Glantz' ATL, Soviet casualties in this 2.5 month period comes pretty close to zero.

    That leaves the ATL with some serious internal inconsistencies. If Soviet casualties are close to zero - why are they still retreating several hundred kms eastwards? Endangering Moscow in the process.
     
    John Dusk and wiking like this.
  13. Catspoke Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    I love these east front threads :)

    This Wiking quote is interesting:

    "One potential option, that Glantz actually mentions in his Barbarossa book, is the Germans not diverting 3rd Panzer Army to Kalinin in October, instead pushing East from Rzhev north of the Moscow river and 4th Panzer Army's push south of it, which would effectively 'double fist' the push along two parallel highways and overload Soviet defenses. In that case the Soviets have the severe problem of their front collapsing in either one, the other, or both at the same time due to trying to defend too much, which then results in the Germans arriving in Moscow right around the time of the Moscow Panic. There is no street fighting then, Soviet reserves are gone, what they had was at the front, and the public is panicking and NKVD doesn't have a chance to restore order."

    This seems like the most realistic "bring the battle to Moscow" option. That is a more focused push which gives up the whole encirclement combined with AGN of the entire Soviet front between Leningrad and Moscow and winning the war in 1941. It would take a more sober assessment of German capabilities at time.

    Both those highways were paved if I remember correctly which would be important once the rains come.

    If the Germans can take Moscow's Vnukovo airport (west of the city) with it paved runways it starts canceling some logistic advantages the Soviets have operating close to Moscow. Even if that is as far as they get they may be in a better defensive position than OTL December 6th.

    It seems if the Soviet can stop the panic (likely). Moscow is such a huge city, it seems local police, NKVD, whatever militia and remnants can be scraped up could make city fighting messy (sort of Berlin 45 like).
     
  14. wiking The One and Only

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Relevant map from Glantz Barbarossa:
    rel map.jpg
     
  15. wiking The One and Only

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    To make things easier to visualize from my above map, here is the two combined situation maps for August 1941 from AG-North and Center:

    [​IMG]


    August 24th 1941 AG-Center:
    August 24th.jpeg


    And some context for AG-Center from July 1941:
    [​IMG]

    And AG-South in July-August 1941 for reference:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 11:27 AM
  16. wiking The One and Only

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    And another map to show the point that the Germans could have attacked Moscow with their strength on hand in early August 1941, rather than move on the flanks:
    Aug 8.jpg

    Rather than waiting to be hammered throughout August, AG-Center, specifically 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups, were sufficiently free enough to push East and pincer Soviet troops in the immediate vicinity. The Panzer Corps at Roslavl in the south was capable as of August 8th to turn east against the Soviet 24th army and Reserve Front and lop it off, freeing up IX Corps to help VII Corps hold the flank around Roslavl against the Soviet 13th and 43rd Armies, as Guderian's 2nd Panzer, instead of pushing further South, then strikes Northeast, through the Soviet 24th army into the flank of the Soviet 16th army as 3rd Panzer Group in the North pushes through the 29th and 30th Soviet armies and helps pincer them from the north. Guderian and Hoth's Panzer armies could meet East of this map, pocketing all the Soviet armies between them, much like the Vyazma pocket in October. Meanwhile to the north of this map, if ordered 4th Panzer Group could be attacking out of Dno toward Staraya Russa to secure the flank of AG-Center and envelope the Soviet 27th-22nd-29th armies with the help of part of the 16th and 9th German armies, as the majority of the 16th hold the Luga and the majority of the 9th helps deal with the pocketing of the Western Front with the AG-Center Panzer armies.


    Edit:
    https://forum.axishistory.com//viewtopic.php?t=51767
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 3:52 PM